The Daily Show: Tetzaveh 2019

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: What daily habit can you not live without? What happens to your day if you neglect it?

Now that God has described to Moses the Israelites’ site of worship, the next topic is what kind of worship must be performed:

The Pitch: “Now this is what you shall offer upon the altar: two yearling lambs each day, regularly. You shall offer the one lamb in the morning, and you shall offer the other lamb at twilight.” – Exodus 29:38-39

Swing #1: “Man must endeavor to serve the Lord in the morning as well as at the dusk of life, in youth as well as in old age. In youth, the body is healthy and strong, and man is in full possession of his vigor and energy. However, his mental faculties are still not fully matured. In old age, his mental faculties are mature, but his physical strength has declined. Accordingly, the morning sacrifice should remind man to accept the sovereignty of the kingdom of heaven at the time when the sun of his own life is on the rise and not to allow himself to be led astray by the follies of this world. The sacrifice which he is required to offer at dusk, by the same token, should teach him that even when the sun of his life is about to set he must not grow lax in his endeavors but must gather new strength by continuing to serve the Lord.” – HaDrash VeHaEyun

Swing #2: “In addition to the annual festival cycle, Israelite religion required a communal tamid, “daily/continual,” offering every morning and evening. The tamid had a collective aspect since its results would benefit all members of Israel, regardless of sex, age, or status.” – Gerald A. Klingbeil, Bridging the Gap: Ritual and Ritual Texts in the Bible

Swing #3: “The biblical descriptions of the daily burnt offering … are completely devoid of any concern with expiation. The purpose of the daily burnt offering – and perhaps some other sacrifices as well – is to provide regular and constant pleasing odors to the Lord, so that the divine presence will continually remain in the sanctuary.” – Jonathan Klawans, Purity, Sacrifice, and the Temple: Symbolism and Supersessionism in the Study of Ancient Judaism

Late-Inning Questions: How do our commentators understand the psychological benefits of the daily sacrificial offering? How do these regular responsibilities add up to a broader set of values? How do seemingly simple daily decisions represent our larger priorities?

On-Deck at Emanu-El: We look forward next Shabbat to dedicating a window in our synagogue, donated by Pearl and Warren Hyman in honor of their recent 70th wedding anniversary. Please join us on Saturday, February 23rd, to thank and celebrate with them.

The Big Inning at the End: Athletes are notoriously habitual creatures. For example, Hall of Fame Yankee catcher Yogi Berra ate a banana and a bagel every morning. While this might not be everyone’s breakfast of champions, it seemed to work for him.

Shabbat Shalom!